Category Archives: Romance

Amnesia

Type: Huh? What am I doing here?

ca8d921b1311386c7362b2cbf3eb56b54367aa1013d75d27b8652a05df948f40

Synopsis: Wait, this seems…familiar. I feel like, like I’m suppose to make some sort of comment on an anime that only vaguely connects to the actual source material. It’s meant to be, funny? No, that’s not right. Nothing seems that funny here. Let me think! Ugh, I feel like a college girl who lost her memories and keeps bouncing around parallel worlds that have me dating different pretty boys in Kingdom Heart cosplay.

Pros: Amnesia, the anime, is based on Amnesia, the dating sim, which is based on Amnesia, the mental condition. While I’ve never played the game, the anime looks like it follows the framework of a visual novel game very well. I could actually see where the game would make you make decision, reach checkpoints, and start over. My particular favorite aspect was the premise. The protagonist (no name ever given) has lost her memories, and keeps waking up in different worlds where her love interest changes. What I liked about this was that this is the perfect justification for the “route” set up in visual novels, where you choose to be romantic with one character. In the anime, this manifest in 1-2 episodes where the heroine “dates” each of the male love interests. I love this, because one of the things I’ve always wanted to see from a harem show, and this is a harem show, is seeing how the protagonist and a love interest would interact as a couple. You get exactly that in this anime, and because the protagonist is always sent to another world, you get to decide which paring you liked the most. The anime does what it should, it makes you feel like your playing a visual novel dating sim without having to actually play it. And the characters are all out of high school, which helps. (P.s. I liked the running joke of the manager changing personality every quantum leap).

Cons: Oh, my, god, what are these boys wearing!? Seriously, the look liked rejected Kingdom Hearts character designs. Is that dude wearing a chocker!? What’s with that guy’s multitude of useless straps!? Is that…is that just the bad guy from Pokemon Black and White!?But seriously, there outfits were very distracting. Not only that, but I think this show also stole a music clip from Kingdom Hearts, specifically from “Dearly Beloved.” Seriously, you compare. Outside of possible plagiarism, the fact that I could tell some of the story points makes the anime a bit predictable. I feel that the fairy subplot was too much, but only towards the end. Oberon’s inclusion in the first 3 episodes was a great way to ease into the premise, and he does disappear for most of the show, only popping in here and there. Which is good, because he gives horrible advise (why not just go to the hospital? What possible negatives could there be?). In terms of characters, the show is meant to make you pick which character you would like the protagonist to be with. I liked Kent because he seemed invested in putting effort into the relationship, as well as keep communication open. But you can like who you like (except that the anime said that Kent is the best, so he’s the best, #OTP, I was right–no, you shut up!). The protagonist herself is an interesting case. On the one hand, she can come off as very passive, and mostly lets other people, usually the men, tell her what to do. On the other hand, having lost her memory and being sent to other worlds, she came off as more observant to me. Like she was simply adapting to her surroundings, getting as much information as she could about her new situation. But maybe that’s just me. That being said, and OVA about the “original” protagonist would have been interesting.

Watch it?: Good pacing. Interesting story. And a killer English dub. (4/5)

MVP: Kent

Kent_anime

Best Husbando

Best Episode: Ep. 7 “VII” (literally the only guy who would listen to her story. Again, best Husbando)

Tagged , , , , ,

Please Teacher!

Type: Someone’s fantasy, I’m sure

Onegai_Teacher

Synopsis: A boy gets marries his hot teacher. Gross right? Except that the boys is totally 18 you guys. For serious. Just ignore the height difference and all the times he calls her “ma’am.”

Pros: Please Teacher! is actually the parent series of Please Twins! That’s a little factoid for ya. The series leans towards the soap opera side of drama, which love triangles and mysterious diseases and what not. But that’s kinda what makes it enjoyable. It hits that sweet spot of melodramatic enough to be engaging, but not melodramatic enough to bum you out. The main conflict stems from the main character Kei having to marry his new teacher/straight up alien Mizuho. I liked that the show depicted the more realistic consequences so such a decision. In fact, the only reason they got married was because Mizuho and Kei were found in a compromising position and Mizuho would have lost her job (cause she’s a teacher, and he’s a student). They can get married because Kei is technically 18 (more on that later), and they begin to live together. From their, we see the growing pains that most couples go through, from dealing with different schedules to feeling of jealousy. Added problems are introduced because of the couple’s age difference and having to keep their marriage a secret. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I really liked the exploration of a couple living their day to day lives.

Cons: Please Teacher! has the problem of having too many plot points. It has a secret marriage, a couple still learning about each other, a love triangle, a second couple, a mysterious disease, a second person with a mysterious disease, an aunt and uncle who can’t stop boning. Oh yeah, and the fact that Mizuho is an ALIEN FROM OUTER SPACE. And weirdly, the show choose to focus on the teacher angle over the alien angle. So it was a little uncomfortable whenever the show reminds us that this student is married to his teacher. When its revealed that Mizuho was an alien, I was expecting a comedy along the lines of Tenchi Muyo. And while there is humor here, it’s more of a subtle humor. Watch the show’s OVA to see what I was initially expecting. But Mizuho being an alien isn’t all that crucial to the plot, it felt superflous. I know it’s used to set up her marriage with Kei, but you could easily rewrite those series of events without the alien gimmick. She was already Kei’s neighbor, and his “stand still” disease could have made her an old friend if you wanted something more exotic. On that front, the show doesn’t do a good job at explaining “stand stills.” All we know is that it’s a condition that causes people to go into temporary comas. Kei was stuck in one for 3 years, hence why he’s 18. But it also appears to stunt your growth? Or is Kei just short? But what about Ichigo? She’s 21, but looks 12. And while we’re on the topic of ages, man Kei, you gatta stop calling your wife “ma’am” and “Ms.Mizuho.” It’s a little weird.

Watch it?: Not a priority 1, but a nifty watch (3/5)

MVP: Mizuho Kazami and Kei Kusanagi

401971

Once they say “I love you” their marriage becomes kinda cute

Best Episode: OVA “Secret Couple” (Kei, cherry boy no more)

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Ore Monogatari!!

Type: So Rinko’s totally dead, right?

[HorribleSubs] Ore Monogatari!! - 04 [1080p].mkv_snapshot_04.41_[2015.05.01_11.29.45]

Synopsis: This story is about the coolest MF’er in town dating the sweetest cinnamon bun in creation.

Pros: This is an incredibly endearing love story. It basically follows the relationship between Takeo, a giant of a teenage man, and Rinko Yamato, as very nice girl (who sometimes verges on being too vanilla). The show follows basic romantic-comedy troupes, wherein each of the couple’s romantic milestones are riddled with comedic situations. For example, Yamato’s confession of love happened while Takeo was hiding under the bed. While one may find some these moments cliche and familiar, the show elevates itself by accomplishing two very important tasks. First, it establishes Takeo as a genuinely good person whose abnormal size keeps him from dating girls. Seriously, the guys a teddy bear who happens to be incredibly awesome. Second, it establishes that Rinko is truly attracted to Takeo, both emotionally and physically. The latter was a surprising aspect of the show, as most anime don’t allow “pure” characters like Rinko to find anything about a man sexy. But we do get a few episodes where Rinko finds Takeo’s large frame pretty hot. You know what they say about big hands, shoulders, feet, lips, hearts and all. Unsurprisingly, the main couple make the show way more enjoyable than if would be without them. I’d also like to give big props to Suna for basically getting these two dopes together. The dude puts so much time into their relationship.

Cons: As mentioned above, looking at this show objectively, you will notice classic romance and comedy troupes. Whether it be love rivals, moments of doubt, or simple misunderstanding. However, I am happy to report that the show never resorts to heavy melodrama. Most of the conflict is relatively light, though as you get more into it you’ll notice a serious lack of stakes involved. You never truly feel that Takeo’s and Yamato’s relationship is in any danger. I mean, I’m grateful, because I don’t want any to happen to my OTP, but others might dislike this. I also found most of the supporting cast outside of Takeo and Yamato’s flock of friends boring. I truly did not care about Suna’s Sister’s Stalker/College Friend, or Suna’s Not-Girlfriend, or Yamato’s Weird Boss. Takeo’s would be student was OK, but she disappears after a while. In fact, most new character disappear after a while. Classic Arc-Specific Character Syndrome. And, what’s up with Suna.? Why’s he always hanging around? And what’s with all the catchphrases. I mean, come on!  If I hear one of “Suki da” or “Yokatta” or “Kakkoii” I am going to throw a thesaurus at my computer. Also, I’m not sure if there’s going to be a second season, BUT THERE SHOULD BE. I WANT TO SEE GRANDCHILDREN.

Watch it?: Best Love-Comedy in a While (4/5)

MVP: Takeo Goda

tumblr_nmr57ufkca1qa0mm4o2_r1_1280

I want this guy to be my brother, and my friend, and my lover

Best Episode: Ep.4 “My Boyfriend” (Takeo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Tagged , , ,

Snow White with Red Hair

Type: Snow White and Rose Red it is not

23971

Synopsis: No 7 dwarves. No evil step-mother. No hunstmen. No glass coffin. No magic mirror. Just a girl with red hair that, for some reason, drives all the boys wild. She gets harassed by some rich dude, a handsome(?) prince saves her, and she become his personal pharmacist.

Pros: To be fair, there is a poison apple in the first episode. The anime doesn’t really follow the Snow White legend, or even the Snow White and Rose Red legend. I’m thinking that the title “Snow White” was used more for name recognition. That’s not a negative, because hey, it’s in public domain. But don’t waste your time trying to draw parallels to the Fairy Tale. The anime itself is a medieval slice-of-life romance anime. The main conflict comes from people having problems with Shirayuki being at court, because she’s a commoner.

Cons: Nothing about this anime will wow you. Outside of the “Snow White” name gimmick, it’s kinda on the bland side. Shirayuki is predictably kind, loyal to the prince and dedicated to her craft. The Prince is equally nice, as are his retainers. I didn’t really buy some of the plots involving someone trying to get rid of Shirayuki, mostly because they happened too much. One story would have been enough. The more it happened, the more I asked, “Why are so many people trying to contradict the Prince’s commands?” It seems like the prince didn’t have much respect from anyone outside his close circle. Not a great sign for his leadership potential. The show occasionally goes into the social troubles on the Kingdom, but these aren’t the focus. The focus is Shirayuki and her life in the castle.

Watch it?: Romancy, but forgettable (3/5)

gifnqhezanzsoyineuu1

MVP: Shirayuki

She’s nice, I guess

Best Episode: Ep.1 “Encounter… Changing the Color of Fate” (most interesting than the show)

Tagged , , ,

Kamisama Kiss

Type: God kisses

9395ee28bac5f56d225e950cf83dde10

Synopsis: Nanami was a high school student in Japan, till her father left her family in horrible debt, in one of those crushing scenes. What was she to do, where was she to go, she was out on her fanny. So she she crashed on the park but a stranger saw more. She had style, she had flair, the was there, that’s how she became the Land God!

Pros: It’s so shojo. I love it. The hero has those big ol’ eyes and colorful bubbles that show up when she feels happy. Or sad. Or slightly hungry. And the boys are all cute. Every single one of them. Even the hobo that turns Nanami into the Land God in the first place. As you can imagine, the story eventually evolves into a love story, where the hero pines for the fox spirit, which surprisingly happens halfway through.

Cons: It’s so shojo, I hate it. The colorful bubbles in particular were out of control. The hero felt the warm fuzzy socks every five seconds. It was one of those “oh, he said bless you after I sneezed, he must be the kindest man in existence.” I liked this anime, but I liked it when it focused on the funny. But instead, I’d say this is 75% romance, 15% comedy. I prefer when those numbers are reversed.

Watch it?: This Shojo had mojo (3/5) 

MPV: The Land God
Kamisama_Kiss2
Why did he do this anyway?

Best episode: Ep.1  “Nanami becomes a Land God” (yep, lets just let all strangers kiss our foreheads)
Tagged , , , , ,

Say “I Love You”

Type: Make me a Sandwich first

edbd0bb8d5722f91def4c4c8c45327431351191195_full

Synopsis: In a tales as old as time, but song not as old as rhyme (because that’s logically impossible), a unpopular girl grabs the attention of the most popular boy in school. Now get THIS, not only is the boy tall and handsome, he’s caring, affectionate, and knows when to get aggressive if you know what I mean *wink* He also has a trouble past…oh, if only someone would understand him!

Pros: Sexist jokes aside, Say “I Love You” is pretty good. Not the best shojo show I’ve ever seen, but still enjoyable. It follows the same basic shojo formula of shy girl meets pretty boy who fall in love with her realness and helps her get more friends. To the show’s credit, Mei and Yamato start dating by the third episode, so the show is mainly about them being in a relationship and falling in love (like in real life, not anime life). The first four episodes are them getting together, then a filler episode, then seven episodes with love rival Megumi. What makes this anime a little different from its brethren is the amount of physical affection depicted in the show. Now, “physical affection” isn’t the same as “sexual affections,” and that’s key here. The characters in this show (mainly Mei and Yamato) tend to hug each other in a manner that comes off as very intimate. Even I had to turn on the fan a few times. There’s also a fair amount of kissing, which I appreciated in the context of a high school romance anime.

Cons: So while the show has a fair amount of good characters and scenes, it is very by the numbers structure wise, almost to a surprising degree. Apart from the above mentioned premise, the classic cliche’s all show up. A love rival shows up to steal Yamato, a love rival shows up to steal Mei, it turns out Yamato has a clingy younger sister, it turns out Mei was taking care of a stray cat in a cardboard box, etc. The show is also notable in its neglect of its supporting characters. Most shojo stories tend to explore the love lives of multiple couples, but in Say “I Love You,” couples are established and then put off to the side (ex: Asami and Kenji). Of course, if the show had 24 episodes instead of 12, this may have not been the case. Finally, I found Mei a bit too shy. I feel she should have shed some of that as the show went on, and I found Yamato a little bland. He was a bit too ideal and the only real character trait of note was his occasional selfishness, or maybe coldness? apathy? distance? A tendency to help others but sometimes overlook the feelings of those closest to him. God, if he would just let me in…

Watch it: “I fell in love with that roundhouse kick” (4/5)

MVP: Kei Takemura

Sukitte Ii na yo - 10 - Large 28

Man, I want that mohawk

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Fried Chicken Flavored” (not ganna lie, that last scenes gave me the vapors)

Tagged , , , , ,

Romeo X Juliet

Type: Juliet X Romeo

romeo-moe-61020-sample

Synopsis: Two households, both alike in dignity until one destroyed the other some 16 years before, In fair Neo-Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, only this time its really the Montague’s fault. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life. Well actually, a crazy magic tree takes their lives, but that would be telling.

Pros:  I’ve said it before, but I love when anime reinterprets well known stories, particularly western stories. So what did they do different with Rome and Juliet? For starters, House Capulet was nearly destroyed by House Montague years before the show. The story actually revolves around Juliet, the last surviving Capulet, and her quest to restore her House and overthrow the tyrannical Prince Montague. As such, we get a lot of stories showcasing the cruelty the citizens of Neo-Verona suffer from Montague and the Noble Class. The best part is that Juliet isn’t just some lost princess. She actually established herself as a Zorro type character who defended the citizenry from oppression well before she learned she was a Capulet. A lot of the story is actually told from Juliet’s perspective, and we get to see her struggle not only with the pressure of reviving her House and the realities of leading a revolution, but also with falling in love with Romeo. Juliet’s personal journey is the core of the show, and ultimately why it succeeds. (p.s. You should also watched this in English, since they actually throw in some actual lines from the play in it).

Cons: I feel that Romeo character was underwritten. Unlike Juliet, Romeo doesn’t really go through a personal journey. He’s more or less that same character from the first to last episode. Fans of the original play may not like some of the character changes. I personally was irked by the personalities of Mercutio and Tybalt. In the anime, Tybalt is this cool and collected character, the opposite in the play, and Mercutio is a conniving power seeker instead of Romeo’s best friend. He doesn’t even die in the end, so we miss his calling out both Houses on their bullshit. I would also argue that Prince Montague should have hated all nobles, not just the Capulets. After learning his backstory, you can’t help but feel he was missing the forest for the trees. Finally, the ending was needlessly complicated. It does the cliche “hidden boss” troupe, where the real antagonist was some mystical being or whatever. This reeked of being an out to kill Romeo and Juliet at the end. Also, not an actual tragedy. In fact, the only tragic figure may be Prince Montague.

Watch it: The only time I actually liked Romeo and Juliet (4/5)

MVP: Juliet

screenshot_4_16109

Hell, even I’d follow her

Best Episode: Ep. 17 “Cruel Tyrant: Darkness, the Origin” (man, do Nobles suck)

Tagged , , , ,

Inu x Boku SS

Type: Right on Time for Valentine’s

Inu-X-Boku-SS-inu-x-boku-ss-27057499-946-556

Synopsis: A young girl named Ririchiyo Shirakiin moves into a high security hotel because her bad attitude and smart mouth have isolated her from the rest of society. This was mostly caused by years of psychological scarring due to neglect and bullying, but that’s beside the point. Actually, that’s totally the point because in this story Ririchiyo meets Soshi, her new bodyguard and first person to sincerely care about her. Oh yeah, and everyone’s a demon. That’s kinda important.

Pros: This show has some solid gags and gets pretty romantic at times. I’m specifically referring to episode 11, which really caught me by surprise. I never thought a butler’s backstory would be so engrossing, and I’ve read the comic where Alfred the butler fought Nazis during WWII. Since the show mostly takes place in a hotel, we get a menagerie of different characters. My particular favorites were Nobara, who always shouted “Maniac!” at cute things, the deadpan Karuta, and the self-proclaimed sadist Kagero. Ririchiyo and Soshi were no slouches either. Ririchiyo’s haughty attitude was hilarious, and Soshi’s over the top duty towards her always mad me laugh.

Cons: The show can be kinda slow at times. It can get a bit “slice-of-life” at times. A lot of this is to reiterate the important plot points. Or really the one important plot point about Ririchiyo’s self-imposed rude behavior. It seems that in order to protect herself from being hurt emotionally, Ririchiyo developed a sharp tongue, something she hopes to rectify. So, as the show points out, she’s not a “Tsundere,” but a “Tsunshun” (someone whose rude on purpose). The demon aspect seems a bit superflous, it actually becomes really important later on in original manga story.

Watch it?: Liked where it was going, looking forward to another season (4/5)

MVP: Nobara Yukinokōji

safe_image

Maniac

Best Episode: Ep.11 “Kagero” (It’s like The Lake House)

Tagged , , ,

Honey and Clover (Season 1 & 2)

Type: The kind with no actual honey or clovers

honeyandclover_s1v2

Synopsis: The series follows five friends who mask their feelings of dread and sadness over choosing to Major in Art by falling in love with weird partners. Two of the friends love an underdeveloped artistic savant. Then the one with the glasses stokes an older widow instead of going for the totally down girl with legs for miles. Their’s also the old guy, who hangs out with all the young people because he only had one friend his own age, and she’s crazy.

Pros: Honey and Clover is a romance anime with some funny bits here and there. Any fan of romance anime’s will love this series. It had melodramatic self reflecting. It has love triangles. It has somewhat quirky characters that all have depressing inner selves. There were also a few relationships that should have been played with more, like between Morita and his brother, the history of Rika and Shuji Sensei, and the friendship between Hagu and Yuta. I really liked what I saw in each paring, and my desire to see more between them speak to the quality of the show. There are some genuinely romantic moments, and well as some genuinely funny ones. I would go so far as to say that if the ration of melodramatic to funny was tweaked more to the comedic side, this would have been a pretty fun anime. The animation also reminded me of From Me to You, which is never a bad thing.

Cons: Everything I listed above could be considered a negative anyone who doesn’t like romantic anime. Melodrama I can somewhat stand, but the sheer amount of self-reflecting. Sheesh! There are two main love triangles. The one between Hagu, Morita, and Yuta (later to be replace by Shuji) was actually pretty good. The one between Takumi, Yamada, and Rika, however, was not. Despite beings a secondary triangle, the damn thing seem to take up 70% of the story. I just did not care about Takumi’s quest to bag a pretty widow. He just came off as too self-centered, and made Yamada look like a pathetic loser.  In fact, I just did not care for Takumi period. His side story with the architectural firm bored me to tears. I wish Yamada had just had her own side story, sans Takumi. The opening intros also sucked (life action and animation do not mix).

Watch it?: A good romantic anime for those with a heart (3/5)

MVP: Morita

1276793-png

Maybe he has the clover?

Best Episode: Ep. 25 “I face a legend…” Romaiya-sempai Special” (Sempai!!!)

Tagged , , , , ,

Spice and Wolf (Season 1 & 2)

Type: Medieval Economics 101

spice_n_wolf_651

Synopsis: A merchant named Kraft Lawrence accidentally becomes the tour guide of a wolf spirit named Holo. He promises to take her to her home in the north. In exchange, he gets to travel with a cute girl whose superhuman senses gives him an edge in trading. Even so, Lawrence’s ineptitude as a merchant gets them into trouble on numerous occasions. Seriously, he’s not very good at what he does. Its like he was running a bank or something.

Pros: I really like what the show did with the relationship between Lawrence and Holo. From their silly banter, to their more intimate moments, you really get the sense that these two are close. All too often in anime, a relationship feels too forced and rushed. But in the case of Lawrence and Holo, their relationship is allowed to grow, making their eventual romance feel organic and natural. I especially liked Holo. The show does a good job emphasizing her age through her dialogue and actions, subtly reminding you that she is several hundred years old. She has a confidence that only comes through experience, as well as a sadness from living so long. Quite a compelling character.

Cons: This show can be divided into three parts. The fist part is the relationship between Lawrence and Holo, which I found to be the most entertaining. The second part is the basic plot structure. Every season has two story arcs, each revolving around some sort of business deal that eventually goes bad. The only thing that changes are the characters and details. This part is actually pretty exciting, and the show does a good job building drama and suspense. The last part is detailed financial explanations. The show revolves around a merchant. Thus, it delves deeply, often dedicating entire scenes, into explaining various aspects of trading, from market fluxes, networking, the risk of investing in futures, etc. This was very boring, but it did remind me of Moby Dick, which itself has weirdly detailed explanations of the whailing industry.

Watch it?: If you have the patience, you’ll enjoy it (4/5)

MVP: Holo

images

Wise Wolf of Yoitsu

Best Episode: S2, Ep.1-6 The Amati Arc (all of it)

Tagged , , , , , ,